Respiratory Rate Assessment from Photoplethysmographic Imaging

Karlen, Walter ;   Garde, Ainara ;   Myers, Dorothy ;   Scheffer, Cornie ;   Ansermino, J. Mark ;   Dumont, Guy

We present a study investigating the suitability of a respiratory rate estimation algorithm applied to photoplethysmographic imaging on a mobile phone. The algorithm consists of a cascade of previously developed signal processing methods to detect features and extract respiratory induced variations in photoplethysmogram signals to estimate respiratory rate. With custom-built software on an Android phone (Camera Oximeter), contact photoplethysmographic imaging videos were recorded using the integrated camera from 19 healthy adults breathing spontaneously at respiratory rates between 6 and 40 breaths/min. Capnometry was simultaneously recorded to obtain reference respiratory rates. Two hundred and ninety-eight Camera Oximeter recordings were available for analysis. The algorithm detected 22 recordings with poor photoplethysmogram quality and 46 recordings with insufficient respiratory information. Of the 232 remaining recordings, a root mean square error of 5.9 breaths/min and a median absolute error of 2.3 breaths/min was obtained. The study showed that it is feasible to estimate respiratory rates by placing a finger on a mobile phone camera, but that it becomes increasingly challenging at respiratory rates higher than 20 breaths/min.